LANSING | The Lansing Elementary District 158 Board of Education has approved the addition of 30 minutes to the Memorial Junior High School schedule starting with the 2012-13 school year.
School will begin at 8:15 a.m and end at 3:15 p.m. The previous starting time was 8:45 a.m.
Keli Ross, assistant principal at Memorial Junior High, told the board an advisory class will be added as the last period each day.
Students will receive extra help from teachers during that period. Each teacher will receive a group of students assigned to him or her based on the subject in which the students require additional assistance.
"Another great benefit of the advisory period is the fact that we can now offer more extended ISAT (Illinois Standard Achievement Test) preparation to all of our students, Monday through Friday," Ross said.
The advisory period also will allow band and choir students to attend practice at that time instead of missing out on core classes.
"The advisory period will provide teachers with more time to allow students to use our wonderful computer facilities," Ross said. "Students will also be utilizing our learning resource center so that they can conduct research or use those resources to help them in their coursework."
As a result of the extra time added to the school day, the board voted to approve a change to the Professional Negotiations Agreement between the board and the Lansing Education Association to provide teachers with a 5 percent pay raise.
"The rationale there was that we're going to add 5 percent to the day, so we added 5 percent to their pay," Board President Robert Wood said.
Board member Anthony Arens expressed displeasure with the 5 percent raise. He said the current contract already calls for a pay increase that Wood said is in the 2- to 3-percent range for the upcoming school year.
"I just think it's very hard to give raises just to increase the day when the constituents of the district are having a tough time," Arens said. "With these trying times, I just think it's excessive."
Arens abstained from voting on the pay increase, while the other six trustees approved the measure.
In other district news, Superintendent Cecilia Heiberger asked the board to consider hiring an additional social worker to serve the junior high school.
"We currently have our students at Memorial being serviced by one social worker," Heiberger said.
More than 800 students attend the school, she said.